Starting kombucha and vinegar

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I don’t know about you but I love Kombucha but really hate paying almost four dollars for a small bottle. So I make my own now. A friend gave me a start several years ago and I had it for a while then I got busy and let it go. I called to see if she had another and she had let hers go also. Well I didn’t know anyone else who had one so I thought I would try to make my own, and it worked woohoo.

So how did I start it.

I bought a bottle of kombucha from the store, I had to get the flavored since they didn’t have any plain. I opened the lid a little and just let it sit on the counter for a few weeks. It will start to make a Scooby.  If you do this go ahead and pour it into a wide mouth jar. I didn’t and had a very hard time getting the Scooby out of the small opening of the bottle.

Since my Scooby was pretty small I just started with making  a quart of kombucha. Here is how I did it. I probably added more sugar and tea then I needed but I wanted to make sure that it would work.

Boil 2 cups water with 3 tea bags and simmer a few minutes pull the tea bags out and pour into a quart jar add ½ cup sugar and stir well till sugar is dissolved. Let cool completely. When cool add the Scooby and all the jar of kombucha, top off with purified water fill to the top. Cover with a cloth and rubber band. Sit on the counter where it won’t be disturbed for a few weeks. When it has a pretty good sized Scooby you can now make a half or whole gallon.

Recipe for 1 gallon Kombucha Tea

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4-6 tea bags ( I use 6)
  • Scoby
  • 1 cup starter ( kombucha)
  • Purified water

Boil 4 cups water add tea bags and let steep 5 to 7 minutes then remove teabags. ( I was making 2 1/2 gallons so I used 10 tea bags)

Pour into gallon jar. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Add purified water till about ¾ full. Add scoby and starter liquid.

Add more purified water to fill container to about 2 to 3 inches from the top. Cover with a cloth and secure with a rubber band. Set in a warm place out of the sun for about a week.

You can taste it then, if to tart reduce your brewing time if to sweet let sit a few more days. Continue to taste every day or so until it taste like you want it to.

Then you can do a second ferment if you want to flavor it. I pour mine into half gallon jars (I make 2 1/2 gallons at a time). Then I add fruit or juice, my favorite is to add strawberries (I use the ones I have frozen), put a lid on then let sit for two days. Strain off the fruit then I pour mine into jars I have saved from store bought kombucha, then put in the fridge. You can also add extracts, I add a little root beer extract to a glass of plain kombucha it is so good, taste like root beer.

If your kombucha sits to long it will turn to vinegar, if it does this just use like you would vinegar, to clean with, hair conditioner, salad dressings, to cook with ect. ( DO NOT USE IT TO CAN WITH, NOT A HIGH ENOUGH PH).

 

After you have a few extra scobys you can make some vinegar.

Apple cider vinegar, I use frozen apple juice with the water added, put in a jar (quart, ½ gallon or gallon). Add your scoby and the first time you will need some unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (like Braggs, you will only need this the first time)

pour in a cup with you scoby and juice. After you have made it the first time just save some starter to use next time. Let sit several weeks. It will start to smell like vinegar, just taste till it is how you like it. Pour off into smaller jars. You can water bath for 10 minutes to seal and to stop the fermentation process. You do lose the beneficial properties if you can it but it is still good to use for cleaners and to cook with.

 

Wine vinegar’s, I just use a cheap wine pour into a jar add your scoby and some starter vinegar ( don’t forget to add the starter vinegar or it won’t work, don’t ask how I know) let sit several weeks till it taste like you want it to.

Malt Vinegar, I haven’t tried this yet but it is on my list of things to try, I am just going to get some beer (a dark malt) and try this. As soon as I do I will let you know how it turns out.

 

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